Match Report by Jon Huddleston
Saturday afternoon saw a stirring performance to raise the temperature on a wintry afternoon from the 5s as they finally burst into life and delivered the hockey they had been promising for weeks.
Skipper Jon channelled his northeastern roots to go full Keegan by selecting a 3-5-2 all out attack strategy and it immediately bore fruit at the wrong end as West Herts earned an early short on the break that was dragged ominously into the top corner, leaving Sam with no chance.
But unfazed by the early setback, the mighty 5s drove forward and the opposition didn’t have another shot on target the whole game.
With the defence (Joe, Lorenzo and Matt) confidently going man for man, Conor was able to slip into midfield, dovetailing effortlessly with Jai and Andy and ably assisted by the superb Raj and Dan on the flanks. The effect of this press was to create a stifling, claustrophobic atmosphere that Herts just couldn’t escape from. With Fergus, Sohan and Arun driving forwards at pace, creating panic in every attack, and with Rich keeping the defence honest, the reply was inevitable and, although the team had to wait until the second half, like buses, one goal brought two and then three. Firstly Jai calmly finished a flowing move from Sohan and Fergus and then Conor clinically finished two shorts with beautiful drag flicks. Rich almost added a fourth but the umpires, who were excellent throughout, felt the ball had just gone over the backboard height.
Man of the match was the relentless Arun, who was unplayable at times, in one breathtaking move going from left back to goal and setting up Fergus who narrowly missed. Conor equally could have won for his stunning all park contribution.
A great game, well-managed and amazing fun to play in, the 5s saw a way to make their hockey effective and perhaps offered a glimpse of a possible promotion push to come.